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2. Gathering Support

"That plan is even more foolhardy than usual, Selmak. Even for your Tau'ri host," Delek said. "You cannot seriously think we will risk any operatives on this."

"Particularly after the Tau'ri made it very clear we were not welcome any longer," Ren'al added.

Jacob sighed. "It's true we were told it wasn't a good time the last couple times we contacted Stargate Command, but that doesn't mean everyone shares that opinion. In fact, from what Teal'c told me, it's because Doctor Jackson has begun to distrust the Tok'ra - affected by Goa'uld genetic memory."

"From what I hear, he is not the only one, nor is it a recent development," Thoran observed.

"The Tau'ri seems to have become quite antagonistic to us in the recent year and a half. Even you must admit that, Jacob," Delek said.

"I get that you won't be going with me to Earth, but that's just fine with me!" Jacob exclaimed. "Someone need to, though. You can't seriously feel we should just give up on our allies!"

"No. I do not want to abandon our allies, not even after all that has happened," Garshaw said. "However, Delek is correct. Your plan is extremely dangerous, foolhardy even."

"I am going!" Jacob insisted.

Sina nodded. "Understandable, but I too have to agree with Delek. It is simply too dangerous."

"In addition, we do not have any operatives available, Jacob. I am sorry," Malek said.

"Per'sus?" Jacob asked in a strained voice.

"You have just told us that Doctor Jackson 'mistrusts' the Tok'ra - and also that he is now in a position of power on your world. What if the people I send are caught? You, Jacob, may enjoy some protection, being a Tau'ri yourself, but that would not be the cause for anyone else. In addition, the world of the Tau'ri is not as most other worlds, and it is my understanding that it would be difficult for someone not native to 'blend in'. No, I cannot in good conscience risk the life of an operative on this. That person would be as good as dead, were they to be caught. I am sorry, Jacob."

Jacob groaned and took a deep breath. "Listen, no offence, Per'sus, but isn't that often the case when we send someone? Why would..." he was interrupted by Selmak who made a suggestion to him. He made a snort at her outrageous idea, but decided to go with it. It was insane enough that it might work. "Selmak suggests there is someone who might be suitable - and willing."

"Really? And who is this?" Delek asked.


"Martouf?" Ren'al scoffed. "You cannot be serious."

"Last I heard he's still in stasis - or has that changed without me being informed?" Jacob asked, sharply.

"I do not know what you are implying. He is still in stasis, but he is dead - or as good as dead in any case," Ren'al said.

"Then that makes him eminently suitable for this mission. Didn't you guys just say any operative going with me was as good as dead? Well, then what's there to lose?" Jacob asked.

"Do not be obtuse, Jacob!" Ren'al exclaimed. "If I thought Lantash could heal Martouf, do you really think I would not have let him try?"

"I'm not sure. You've been so adamant about how we need to study his brain, that I thought that was all that mattered to you!"

"It is of grave importance! How are we to stop the Goa'uld from their nefarious plans if we cannot stop them from turning our own people against us? You have been blocking me in this important research for more than a year, to the point where it may not even matter any longer!"

"Then what does it matter if you let Lantash try healing Martouf? Anise tells me it is possible, at least if healers help with healing devices. She also told me that there would be little to learn from an autopsy, because the shots from the zat'nik'tel would have almost certainly destroyed the zatarc programming!"

"Anise should refrain from speculating on research she is no longer involved in," Sirron said.

"Because you voted to allow your good friend Ren'al to take over!" Jacob exclaimed.

"Stop!" Per'sus called out, angrily. "This is ridiculous! You will not reopen this discussion here!"

Jacob took a deep breath, then dipped his head, letting Selmak take over.

"You are correct, Per'sus. The fate of Martouf and Lantash is close to our hearts, and that was why we let our temper rule. Jacob and I both apologize."

Per'sus nodded. "We all regret what happened to them."

Everyone else around the table looked down, realizing they had let their cloud their reason.

"We Tok'ra are passionate, but we should be able to talk together in a civil manner," Thoran remarked.

"Thoran is correct," Delek said.

Ren'al nodded slowly. "He is. Now, can we end this meeting? I have some matter of importance I need to attend to."

"Jacob and I still need an answer. Will you allow Lantash to attempt to heal Martouf, with the assistance of a healer?"

"Selmak!" Ren'al groaned, hiding her face in her palm.

"Per'sus." Selmak turned to the Supreme High Councillor of the Tok'ra. "If they are successfully healed, and agrees to go with us, then what is there to lose? You risk someone that would probably have died otherwise, and if we return safely you will have them back - and probably the gratitude of the Tau'ri for rescuing them from their current situation."

Per'sus considered it, and discussed it with his host. "There is truth in your words, Selmak," he finally said.

"There is," Malek agreed.

"I too support this," Garshaw said.

Sina nodded. "As do I."

"Delek? Thoran? Sirron?" Per'sus asked. "Ren'al?"

"You already have your majority. What does it matter?" Ren'al asked, unhappily.

Delek and Thoran slowly nodded, and then so did Sirron. Finally, Ren'al did as well.

"Good." Per'sus smiled. "An unanimous decision. I like those!"

"Sure you're okay?" Jacob asked, looking at Martouf with concern.

Martouf nodded. "Yes, I am well. Merely a little sore and tired." He gave Jacob a half-smile. "All the damage has been repaired, and Lantash assures me we will be fine. We just need 'a few good nights of sleep', as you say."

Jacob smiled at his friend. "Great. You can get that on the way to Earth, if you don't mind." He hesitated, "Assuming you are still willing to go?"

"Of course, Jacob. Did you really imagine I would say no?"

"No, not really."

"Besides - it seems I no longer have any quarters." He grinned wryly.

"We'll get some new ones grown for you. I made sure that some of your personal stuff at least is still in storage."

"Thank you, Jacob. That is most appreciated."

He nodded, then grinned, feeling very happy to have his friend back."Come on - we lost more than a week while they healed you!" His grin widened. "Okay, we couldn't have left earlier anyway. It took me that long to track down a teltac with a cloak! Come and meet the team!"

"The 'team' - that is you, me, Teal'c, and another Jaffa?" Martouf asked, as they turned into the corridor that lead to Jacob's quarters.

"Yup, he's the guy who trained Teal'c. His name is-"

"Master Bra'tac," Teal'c said, stepping out in the corridor together with Bra'tac.

Martouf looked towards Bra'tac, and made a half-bow. "Honoured to meet you, Master Bra'tac."

Bra'tac smiled. "Greetings, young Tok'ra."

"My name is Martouf, host to Lantash," he told him, turning to Teal'c. "Greetings, Teal'c."

Teal'c bowed his head to him. "It is good to see you well, Martouf."

"Thank you."

"You have procured a vessel for our journey?" Bra'tac asked.

"Yes, I just returned - to find that Martouf had been released by the healers. Very fortunate. It means we can leave immediately."

"The ship is here?" Teal'c asked.

"No, it's on another world, slightly closer to Earth than this one. It'll still take more than a week, even pushing the engines," Jacob said.

"Then I agree, we should leave as soon as possible," Martouf said.

"Anise has found some tech that might help us get through the electronic security measures I am told Daniel Jackson has installed in his headquarters. If you go fetch some valuables for us to use on Earth, Martouf, the rest of us will get the stuff from Anise," Jacob told them.

"I apologize, Jacob. I do not know a lot about the world of the Tau'ri. I assume an amount similar to what is needed when setting an operative up as a minor system lord would be sufficient?" Martouf asked.

"Yeah, that's probably..." Jacob frowned. "Wait... no, damn!" He shook his head. "We need a fairly large sum to pull off an attack on a place like Doctor Jackson's mansion, but you can't easily sell lots of expensive jewelry on Earth. Not quickly at any rate. It'll seem suspicious, and we can't risk that. No, we'll just bring a smaller amount, and then we'll have to find some means of getting more funds locally." He listened to a suggestion from Selmak, and hesitantly agreed.

"We're almost on Earth. I suggest the first order of business should be contacting Sam and tracking down Jack," Jacob said. "If Sam's in prison, like Teal'c suspects, we'll find a way to free her."

"Can we be certain Colonel O'Neill is to be trusted?" Lantash asked.

"O'Neill would never betray us!" Teal'c exclaimed.

"I apologize. What I meant was, would he be willing to believe Daniel Jackson has succumbed to the Goa'uld genetic memory, or will he trust his friend even against our word?"

"It's a valid question," Jacob said after a few moments. "But I doubt he'll report us, even if he won't agree Daniel Jackson needs to be removed from power." He turned to Teal'c. "Does Jack still live in Colorado Springs?"

"He did when I last saw him, but that was several months ago," Teal'c said.

"All right. We'll start there then. We should be able to find someone to ask, at least," Jacob decided. He checked that the cloak was functioning, and then adjusted the controls.

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